Money Management Articles

Budgeting

Putting miscellaneous deductions to work - 3/31/2014
Now that you're just about ready to file your tax return, are you sure you claimed all the deductions that you're due? Most Americans know that they can deduct items such as charitable donations, mortgage interest and property taxes.

Minnesota's new gift tax sparks questions for taxpayers - 3/17/2014
As part of a campaign to educate taxpayers on confusing, challenging and emerging tax issues, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) offers filers important reminders and considerations related to Minnesota's new state gift tax.

Five tax tips for the unemployed - 3/17/2014
If you find yourself out of work, taxes may be the last thing you want to think about; but it's important to continue your tax and other financial planning, even when you're unemployed.

Do's and don'ts for paying your tax bill - 3/3/2014
About three-quarters of individual taxpayers received refunds last year, according to Internal Revenue Service statistics. However, many people find that they do owe taxes when April 15 comes around. If you fall into that group, the Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers these recommendations on the best way to settle your bill.

MNCPA issues list of strange and unusual tax deductions - 2/17/2014
The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) recently conducted its annual CPA member survey about the most strange and unusual tax deductions proposed by clients. Responses included everything from pets and wedding rings to gifts not given.

What you should know about taxes and Social Security benefits - 2/3/2014
Will your tax bill this year include taxes on your Social Security benefits? About 55 million people receive monthly Social Security payments and some of them pay taxes on up to 85 percent of those benefits, depending on their financial situation.

Five steps to achieving your financial goals - 1/14/2014
What do you want to do now, or next year, or five or 10 years down the road? This is the time of year when people step back and consider where they stand and how close they are to achieving long-held goals. No matter what your objectives, there's no doubt that a sound financial plan will put you in a better position to achieve them, according to the Minnesota Society of CPAs.

2013 tax changes that may surprise taxpayers - 1/5/2014
With significant changes made to the federal and Minnesota tax rules in 2013, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) would like to remind taxpayers of the importance of tax planning and understanding how the new rules affect their respective tax situations.

College students home for the holidays? Discuss practical tax decisions - 1/5/2014
The winter holiday break provides a great opportunity for parents and college students to decide who claims whom on their 2013 federal and state tax returns. Surprisingly, it's not just limited to minor children.

Retirement road blocks for baby boomers - 12/15/2013
From now until 2030, about 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day, according to the Pew Research Center. This large generation, born between 1946 and 1964, has had a huge impact on American culture and society, and that remains the same as they head into retirement.

'Tis the season for charitable contributions - 12/1/2013
Along with an avalanche of catalogues and holiday greetings from family and friends, you may also find your mailbox inundated with donation requests from charitable organizations.

How can you cut next year's taxes? - 12/1/2013
Taxes may be the last thing you want to think about at the holidays, but the end of the year is a great time to take some smart steps that can help you minimize your future tax outlays. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) provides these ideas for keeping more money in your pocket.

Five questions to ask your CPA before the end of the year - 11/14/2013
Your to-do list is probably pretty full at this time of year. While the thought of adding one more task may feel overwhelming, it's one that can help put your mind at ease this New Year's Eve: Talk to your CPA.

Don't make these five online shopping mistakes - 11/14/2013
Online spending in the United States is expected to hit $370 billion by 2017, an increase from $262 billion in 2013, according to Forrester Research. Online shopping can be a great convenience, but CPAs advise that there are steps you should take to ensure a safe and satisfying experience.

Take control of holiday spending! - 10/31/2013
What are your holiday shopping plans this year? American retail holiday spending totaled about $580 billion in 2012, according to the National Retail Foundation, up 3 percent from the previous year. This is clearly a time of year when people dig deep into their pockets to pay for holiday gifts and celebrations, but that doesn't have to put a dent in your budget. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers advice on how to make smart spending plans.

Deciphering the health insurance requirements - 10/31/2013
You can't put it off any longer: Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all Americans to maintain a minimum level of health coverage or face a tax penalty. While some people are flocking to www.healthcare.gov to research and purchase their insurance, others are unsure how to proceed.

Pump up your credit score! - 10/16/2013
Are you looking for a surefire solution that will lower the interest you pay on your mortgage, car loans, credit card accounts and other debt? If so, there's one easy answer: Raise your credit score. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) offers the lowdown on why your credit score is important and how it can affect your financial life.

Five smart financial tips for young people - 10/3/2013
A whopping 70 percent of college students will graduate with student loan debt, which averages about $25,200, according to a recent Fidelity Investments survey.

Should you buy or lease your next car? - 10/2/2013
If you’re thinking of replacing your car, you may also be wondering if you should lease or buy the replacement vehicle. Leasing a vehicle used to be commonplace only for businesses because of the tax write-off. But now with deals like zero money down, low monthly payments or zero-percent interest, leasing has become a popular option for the general public.

Going back to work after retirement: How Social Security, taxes and health care may be affected - 9/16/2013
Retirement isn't what it used to be. Instead of leaving the workforce at age 65 and hitting the golf course every day, many retirees are going back to work. According to a recent Longevity Alliance and Harris Interactive poll, 43 percent of surveyed retirees seriously considered re-entering the workforce shortly after they had left their companies.

Taking the bite out of pet care costs - 9/16/2013
Spending on pets hit an all-time high last year, topping $53 billion, according to the American Pet Products Association. The highest growth came in pet services -- such as grooming, boarding, and pet sitting -- and supplies and over-the-counter medications also saw a sharp rise.

Tax tips for small-business owners - 9/4/2013
There are 23 million small businesses in America, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Although each business is unique, you can be sure that they have a common desire to minimize their taxes and make the most of the deductions for which they qualify. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) offers these tips on how to achieve those goals.

College budgeting 101: How to make sure spending money lasts through the school year - 8/18/2013
College students are heading back to campus, their bank accounts replenished with summer job money and possibly student loan funds. Will it be enough to last all year? There are ways to improve the odds.

Refinancing your home: What you should know before you make your move - 8/18/2013
The United States housing market is perking up -- so, too, are mortgage rates. As home values rebound, homeowners are looking at options for refinancing their existing mortgages.

Financial planning for same-sex couples after the DOMA decision - 7/31/2013
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, a decision that has sweeping financial implications for same-sex couples who were married in states that recognize same-sex marriage.

Don't be swamped by student loan debt! - 7/31/2013
As students prepare to head back to the books, college planning is on the minds of many families.

Should you rent a vacation home or stay in a hotel? - 7/18/2013
Are you planning a trip in the coming months? If so, you're among the 59 percent of Americans who expect to go on a summer vacation, according to an American Express survey.

How much is technology costing you? - 7/17/2013
How much do you spend on technology each month? Technology, and mobile devices in particular, can definitely make your life easier, but they also add to your regular expenses. The Minnesota Society of CPAs has insights about technology spending that can help you keep your expenses in check.

The rising cost of day care: Manage your costs, maximize your deductions - 7/1/2013
The cost of child care in the U.S. has climbed dramatically during the past three decades. Unfortunately, wages aren't keeping pace with the skyrocketing increases, and working parents are struggling to keep up.

Planning a budget-friendly vacation: Summer fun without breaking the bank - 7/1/2013

Vacations create fun, lasting memories for families, but they can also be a significant expenditure. Plan ahead, shop around and budget carefully, and you'll be ready to relax and enjoy your trip.

Tax tips for newlyweds - 6/16/2013
June is traditionally a time when couples tie the knot and, as is the case with so many major milestones in life, all newlyweds should be aware of the tax considerations associated with marriage. If you or a loved one is planning nuptials, the Minnesota Society of CPAs offers this advice on addressing the tax concerns.

Using an allowance to teach financial lessons - 6/16/2013
On average, children spend about six hours a week on household duties. No matter what the rules are in their house, the Minnesota Society of CPAs advises parents that there are steps they can take to ensure that their kids are learning some financial lessons when they get their allowance.

Giving the gift of financial planning: A lifetime of financial knowledge wrapped up with a bow - 6/2/2013
June means longer days, the start of summer and invitations to weddings, graduation parties and maybe a baby shower or two. Stuck for ideas on what to give the newlyweds, graduates or new parents? This year, consider something nontraditional that will last a lifetime and never go out of style: a visit with a financial planner.

Growing your small business: You don't have to leave big business to the big guys - 6/2/2013
Small businesses are the backbone of America's economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the nation's 23 million small businesses account for 54 percent of all U.S. sales and 64 percent of all net new jobs. But many successful small businesses make the leap and become big businesses.

Five tips for living peacefully with 'boomerang kids' - 4/30/2013
Due to the recent recession and continuing economic weakness, more and more adult children are still living with their parents or have moved back in with them.

Is now a good time to buy or sell a home? - 4/30/2013
If you’ve been waiting on the sidelines to purchase a home, or to put yours on the market, has the time for action finally arrived?

Taking a trip over the fiscal cliff: Expiring tax cuts and deficit-cutting compromise measures leave American taxpayers with lots of uncertainty - 12/17/2012
The term “fiscal cliff” has become a popular phrase among politicians and pundits over the past several months, but what does it mean? If the United States goes over it, will you be affected? The so-called fiscal cliff actually refers to two separate sets of economic events that will take place starting Jan. 1, 2013. If politicians in Washington fail to come to an agreement, a popular set of tax cuts will expire. At the same time, a plan for severe government budget cuts will begin to be phased in. Over the long term, the combined effect would be significant.

Smart tips on charitable giving - 12/3/2012
This is the season of goodwill to all, a time when people take time to think of others. In addition to giving gifts and planning holiday get-togethers, that means many people are also dipping into their pockets to make donations to worthy charities. While that’s a good impulse, it’s important to do your charitable giving wisely. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) provides the following advice on ways to make your money the most productive.

Budgeting for the holidays: Smart spending for the season - 11/15/2012
The countdown to the holiday season has officially begun with decorations on store shelves and gift catalogs filling mailboxes. A recent study by the Consumer Electronics Association shows that individual consumers plan to spend $1,634 overall this holiday, up 11 percent from last year. Unfortunately, much of that spending will be done on credit cards. That may make consumers feel gloomy when they get their bills in January.

Life after bankruptcy - Getting your credit and finances back on track - 9/18/2012
More than 600,000 new bankruptcy cases were filed in the first half of 2012. If you were one of them, it may feel like your financial future is doomed. Not so, says the Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA). While you will face challenges post-bankruptcy, you can chart a new financial course with a commitment to educating yourself, becoming more disciplined with your money and credit, and learning some valuable lessons.

Live well in retirement - 8/20/2012
Many retirees face concerns about how they will manage to pay for a secure and happy retirement. The good news is that there are many costs that retirees typically don’t face, such as commuting to work, buying a business wardrobe or saving for their children’s college tuition. Many other expenses will stay the same, and the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) advises that you can make some smart choices in order to live well on a fixed retirement budget.


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